Sudbury

Federal Minister talks climate change in Sudbury

The Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, spoke with students at Laurentian University about the need to act on climate change now.

Ontario residents filing their taxes can expect a return from the climate action incentive rebate

The Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change warned students at Laurentian University that now is the time to act on climate change. (Jamie-Lee McKenzie/CBC)

The Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, spoke with students at Laurentian University about the need to act on climate change now.

To a packed room of students in the Cliff-Fielding Innovation Centre on Thursday, McKenna stressed the importance of doing something about climate change now.

"There's been extreme flooding, there's been droughts and in Ontario and Quebec people literally died in Toronto and Montreal of extreme heat. Climate change is real and it's having a huge cost, a huge human cost, a huge economic cost," said McKenna.

It doesn't matter where you live anymore, she said, climate change is affecting everyone and the carbon pollution is causing the world to warm at an unsustainable pace.

"As I like to say to people who think we shouldn't act because it's too expensive, it is the biggest debt that we can leave to future generations," she said. 

The federal government's plan to act on climate change includes changes to many different industries, including oil and gas, electricity and transportation. It also includes over 50 measures, including doubling the amount of nature protected.

"I've learned in this job, it is no good to say 'I'm sorry we're shutting down your industry because that's going to be good for the environment, that just doesn't work... people need jobs and you need to figure it out and we need to figure out how we're doing it together," McKenna said. 

And she says Sudbury is a great example of balancing the economy and the environment.

"A town that has relied on mining but is also coming up with a clean solutions and has also done so much to rehabilitate the environment," she said.

In the past, Sudbury was a big contributor to the pollution caused by acid rain. Which was a big issue until the city and the government started taking action on it by putting a price on pollution.

"It is the biggest debt that we can leave to future generations," says Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna. (Jamie-Lee McKenzie/CBC)

"Sudbury was part of the solution, they found the innovations here certainly there was a lot of pollution coming from industry here and Sudbury cleaned up its act and so did industry across Canada... and guess what, our lakes and rivers aren't dying off of acid rain," said McKenna.

She said and now we know the problem again, it's too much carbon pollution which is why they've introduced carbon pricing.

"So it could no longer be free to pollute that is what we have done, we have said that as of this year it is no longer free to pollute, no more carbon pollution for free in our country," she said.

"If people have to pay a price, they will figure out how to not pay the price."

However, people in northern Ontario can expect a tax incentive once carbon pricing is introduced.

"If you're filing your taxes and you're a resident here, you will get your climate action incentive rebate," McKenna said.

"In Ontario, what we've said is there will be a price on pollution but all the money will be returned... 90 per cent will go back to individuals, so for example, a family of four will receive $307 as soon as they file their taxes."

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